24 June 2011

The Loaf in the Picture

Since making my first loaf of bread with my starter/leaven I had put it in the fridge for the next time. As I don't make bread every day I figured it would be fine there until my next adventure. You do have to remember to re-activate about three days before you want to use it so last Thursday morning I fished it out of the fridge to see how it had weathered the last couple weeks. All looked well so I just added 50mls of water and then 4 tbsp four mixed it all up and popped it in the cupboard. Friday morning dawned and when I checked the starter it had come to life again, bubbling up nicely. I removed three quarters of this mixture and then added 100mls of water and 125g flour, mixed and returned to the cupboard. The same on Saturday morning and it was ready to use on Sunday when I had decided to make the Currant and Cassis bread from The Handmade Loaf. I didn't have any currants but I did have raisins, they're all the same really aren't they? Sorry Dan if I'm flouting all recipe laws but sometimes it's whats in the cupboard that works!
250g Currants or Raisins in this case
150g water
50g cassis
For Dough
250g Strong White flour
150g Rye Flour
1 and a half tsp salt
280g of the soaked Currants, drained
150g soaking liquid plus water to make the required weight at 20% (not sure I understand these percentages but I added enough water to make the dough consistency I am used to)
30g cassis
100g water at 20 degrees
three quarters tsp yeast
200g rye leaven (I used my white leaven)
The first thing to do is to soak the currants, mix them with the cassis and water and bring to the boil, remove from the heat and leave to cool overnight (or in my case about an hour, I never read the recipe the night before!).
Mix all the dry ingredients together in one bowl and the wet ingredients in another and then add the wet to the dry mixing well. Dan says with your hands but I'm afraid I'm a bit squeamish about that so I use my dough scraper. It gets mixed, either way.
Now Dan Lepard has a very different way of kneading, it is done for a very small amount of time (10-15 seconds) left for 10 minutes and repeated twice. This is done on an oiled surface. All very different but it works just as well.
The dough is then "turned". This is a way of stretching the dough to elongate the bubbles. You form the dough into a rectangle then stretch it in one direction and fold (in thirds) and the stretch the other direction and fold. For this recipe you turn the bread after 30, 60 and 90 minutes.
Then divide the dough in two and form into batons and place (seam side up) on floured tea towels (or proving baskets it you have them), cover and leave for 2 hours. If you are still with me we are almost there. It seems using the leaven makes for a longer bread making session but it is almost therapeutic really, all the kneading, turning and proving. And I know I should have been doing the housework in between but I found myself reading!
Once these have doubled in size turn them onto a flour dusted tray and make a cut from top to bottom. Place in a pre-heated oven (210) for 45 minutes. Mine were done after 35 but then that's my oven.
And for the first time the slashing worked and I got a loaf that looked almost like the picture in the book! I was very proud as I buttered a slice and ate with relish.


  1. What kind of relish? HAHA JUST KIDDING, I KNOW IT WAS METAPHORICAL RELISH. Do you have a recipe for that? Loaf looks deeelishious.

  2. Just noticed this comment! Bad blogger!